Canada's Lyndon Rush certainly did not have a "gut" feeling that he was going to experience a breakthrough performance Saturday at the two-man World Cup bobsled in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Rush was up all night prior to the race battling a stomach flu.
But along with brakeman Lascelles Brown, the Humboldt, Sask. native managed to put together two excellent starts to tie defending champion Andre Lange of Germany for the gold medal -- the first ever medal in the two-man event for Rush on the World Cup circuit.
Both sleds recorded a combined time of two minutes, 12.34 seconds.
Rush credited Brown, a native of Jamaica who now calls Calgary home, with giving the duo explosive starts on the Olympia Bobrun, the world's only natural bobsled run.
"Lascelles was obviously a man possessed with something (Saturday) because I have no idea how we were able to able to push. I had nothing in warmup," Brown told reporters.
Canadian head coach Tuffy Latour was floored with the team's performance.
"They didn't freak out about (his illness), they took it in stride," Latour told The Toronto Sun. "Lyndon tried to hydrate himself before the race and managed to do just that.
'DID THE JOB'
"He didn't overtax himself before the race and did the minimal warmup, and just went out and did the job."
Rush and Brown were second after the first run and managed to hang on after a decent second run for the share of the gold.
Lange and brakeman Kevin Kuske were seventh after the first run but put together a solid second run to tie the Canadians.
Rush, a deeply religious person, said a prayer before the race and it appears as though someone was listening.
"I just said, 'God give me strength because I got nothing,'" he said.
"And it was pretty cool how it worked out."
Rush, a former University of Saskatchewan gridiron star, is experiencing a breakthrough season on the World Cup circuit (he won the four-man World Cup in Park City, Utah in November) and it couldn't have come at a better time, with the Olympics a month away.
Canada's second team of Pierre Lueders of Edmonton and his brakeman, Edmonton Eskimos running back Jesse Lumsden, also had two good starts, but driving mistakes landed them ninth.
Lueders, one of the most celebrated winter-sport athletes in Canadian history, has struggled to find his form this season, but Latour insisted that Lueders and Lumsden are connecting as a team and will be a threat at the Vancouver Olympics.
"I don't foresee anything changing," Latour said of the duo.
"There's nobody else on the team right now that would be able to push Pierre the way Jesse's pushing, other than Lascelles Brown. We definitely have two strong teams going into the Olympics."
Unfortunately, two is the definitive word for Canada.
It was the U.S., not Canada, that qualified a third sled for the Olympic Games. Mike Kohn teamed up with Curt Tomasevicz to finish 12th in St. Moritz, giving him enough points to qualify at the expense of the third Canadian team piloted by Serge Despres.